Instead of just giving praise to the best song(s), album(s), EP(s) this year; it seemed necessary to mention the artists that have made 2016 such an exciting year for music.
So we’ve got brand new names rubbing shoulders with more established acts, a call to fashion in music, unity, and a bid farewell. It’s been a good one 2016, and here’s Velvet’s way of saying thank you to those who made it special:
An act from earlier this year, Rina Sawayama’s cover of Michael Jackson’s I Wanna Be Where You Are, instantly blew our minds, and then seamlessly did the exact same with the fashion world. Sawayama’s outspoken nature has been her strongest asset, as her questioning of Asian beauty standards with John Yuyi, as well as her views on racism and sexism have seen the fashion world welcome her in, even striking up a feature in Vogue.
Marking himself as one of Broadway’s rising new stars, Clipping’s Daveed Diggs showed that his masterful lyricism wasn’t going to run out when it came to producing new Clipping tracks in 2016. An EP and LP in one year that have thrown together more innovation and ingenuity than most could dream for, Clipping’s music has been as strong as ever this year.
This LA producer has had my spotify on lockdown this year. A Ruin has virtually claiemd its own title as my personal, favourite track of the year, and I’m completely fine with that. A spot on our end of year list, as well as our 3 Years of Velvet Independent spotify playlist, Kauf has quietly and consistently destroyed our lives throughout 2016, in the most majestic forms imaginable.
Velvet’s love for Palace has never been a secret and this affair has continued to grow on the strength of the build up to their debut LP, So Long Forever, towards the end of this year. The London group kept their blues-tinged indie rock on their own level this year, never deterring towards the attraction of mediocrity that so often follows hype bands.
Their debut LP ignited fire in the hearts of punks all over the UK, while their sophomore LP cushioned the moshpits of their early shows, with the suave shoegaze croons of The Smiths at their peak. The dreaded second album curse seemed to be of no issue at all to the Leeds group, who let Ullages do the talking, in a dim lit, purple haze, drenched in a nostalgia of the love affair between indie rock and punk music.
Could we even declare Velvet as an independent artist promoter, if we didn’t give The Maccabees a slot on our list? No, is the answer you’re looking for. From Tooth Paste Kisses, to Pelicans and having The Marks To Prove It, The London group who found their name through random selection of choice in the bible, have left a mark on the world of indie rock that few will ever forget.
Hands down our favourite new act of the year. Originally known as Osca, the London group have become synonymous with what we expect from a breakout group, or soon to be break out group. A finesse that is so unapologetically polished and professional, that it retains every ounce of individuality and excitement that comes pouring out.
When Subculture Sage appeared in my email earlier this year, it’s fair to say that because of previous emails from grime, r’n’b, hip-hop acts, my expectations weren’t too high. This duo may as well have told me I’d be a complete waste-man to ignore them, because Big Smoke Autumn Blues has undoubtedly been our favourite mixtape/grime/urban release/UK release of this year.
If you’ve listened to Solange’s A Seat At The Table, you’ll know immediately why she deserves a spot on this list, and our album list. Her first LP in eight years, Solange has mastercrafted her identity and translated this into expressions of struggle and the sense of community that black women around the world can unite upon. As a white man, I can’t relate to A Seat At The Table and it isn’t made for me to relate to. I can however appreciate the message of black unity, the need for such an album, the talent and pure artistry, that Solange has selflessly gifted to black women everywhere.
ARTIST OF THE YEAR: MOLLY MOORE
2016 has been the year of Miss Moore. An EP, singles, collaborations, features, group projects, you name it, Molly Moore has her stamp on it. She’s made her stance as one of the music world’s hardest working artists this year undoubtedly, which deservedly earns her the title of our artist of the year.